The Hollywood legend that is Robert Redford landed in London on Thursday to officially kick off the inaugral Sundance London Film And Music Festival, a four day event celebrating American independent cinema and music. I have had the opportunity of spending the past four days at The O2 arena in London catching a few of the films that are receiving their UK debuts at the festival, which runs from Thursday 26th until Sunday 29th April, 2012.
I will be sharing a few of my picks of the festival over the next few days, kicking off with the wonderful LIBERAL ARTS (pictured below), a Josh Radnor scripted and directed fare that screened to audiences for the first time on Thursday evening. The film was a fave from this year’s Sundance in Park City, and this evening Radnor turned up to the fantastic Cineworld at The O2 to introduce his film, which also stars Zac Efron, Elizabeth Olsen and Richard Jenkins. While not alluding to the introcate details of my review, it is definitely one of the stand outs of the whole fest, and if you’re in town, you will be able to catch it at further screenings across the weekend (check out the full schedule here).
Redford himself took part in a special Q+A with the press on Thursday morning at the same cinema multiplex where all of the scheduled movies will screen, and I had the pleasure of being amongst the packed press crowd, eagerly awaiting the arrival of such a huge star, and the man who is ‘Sundance,’ ‘The Great Gatsby’. Johnny Hooker in THE STING, and of course Bob Woodward in ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN . The 75-year-old appeared, not looking a day over fifty, and sincerely and honestly addressed the waiting press, all of whom knew they were in the prescence of a Hollywood legend. He answered questions from the crowd, including one where he was asked what he thought of Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent comments over the British film industry concentrating on exclusively making commerically viable films.
“That may be why he (Cameron) is in trouble,” Redford jokingly said. “That’s a narrow view and doesn’t speak to the broad category of film-makers and artists.”
The almost throw-away comment above was clearly not what the star was here to talk about. It is all about Sundance, and bringing the magic and part of the 32 year history of this wonderful American film institution to a different continent.Redford described what he wanted to do with the first Sundance London.
“This is a scaled-down version of what we do in the mountains in Utah,” he said. “We want to offer the alchemy of what we do at Sundance, and see how it is received. That’s why we’re here.”
“When Sundance started,” he said, “it was a path for new voices that wouldn’t get a chance to be heard otherwise. We didn’t know if the festival was going to survive, but it did. The audiences grew, and became as diverse as the film-making. There’s a hunger for other films, and that’s what we represent. So as well as supporting the film-making, we decided to try and grow audiences for it. Coming to London is a continuation of that.”
It was a thrilling place to be and indeed being at The O2 this morning, you could almost feel the buzz starting to accumilate around the place, a huge contrast to the quieter press screenings from earlier on in the week.
On Thursday evening, Redford took to the stage at The IndigO2, the smaller music venue inside the massive ‘building’ formerly known as the Millennium Dome, alongside T Bone Burnett, the Academy Award winning musical genius that has worked on films like the Coen brothers O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU, CRAZY HEART, COLD MOUNTAIN and THE THING CALLED LOVE. He is also an award winning producer and artist, and his appearance on stage alongside Redford and moderator Nick Hornby, was met with rapturous applause and a huge standing ovation at the end…
I can’t wait to share a few of my thoughts about the various films I’ve seen over the past few days, and you’ll start to see both my own and the other guys reviews appearing on the site over the Sundance London weekend.
The festival runs until Sunday, and you can still bag yourself some tickets by visiting the official Sundance London website.
Check out this video from the guys at Red Carpet TV who captured the aforementioned press conference with Redford and Sundance director John Cooper earlier on Thursday.